In the dozen years after the end of the Gulf War in 1991, the Untied States and Great Britain kept up a low-level but deadly conflict, declaring that their goal was to end the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and insisting that Iraq be disarmed of mass destruction weapons. They attacked Iraq repeatedly from the air. They also enforced sanctions that harmed innocent Iraqis and they maintained military “no-fly zones”. In 2002, the Bush administration announced that it considered Iraq to be part of an “axis of evil.” Though United Nations arms inspections made increasing progress after their return in November and a large council majority insisted that the inspections continue, Washington invaded Iraq in alliance with Great Britain on March 20, 2003. This section looks at many aspects of the crisis, including the background of the war, the humanitarian situation, the importance of Iraq’s huge oil resources, and disputes over a post-war government and reconstruction plan.

The Bush and Blair governments have been attempting to build a case for a new war on Iraq. In the wake of September 11, 2001 and the new war on terror, the two administrations tried to highlight the threat that Iraq poses to the world. Much of the world was skeptical, and there was a lot of propaganda from many sides.

Since the United States and United Kingdom imposed a no-fly, Iraq has been bombed anything from almost daily to every three days. The pentagon says more then 280,000 sorties have been flown in the decade since no-flight zones were imposed on Saddam in the north and south of the country.

Depleted uranium and other new technology were used in the Gulf War. Together with the bombing of civilian infrastructure such as factories and chemical plants, the long term effects on the environment are bleak.

September 2, 2003

History 101